ST MIRREN winger Gary Teale claims that he played a major part in helping Wigan lift the FA Cup for the first time in their history – six years after leaving the club.
He has been told how Roberto Martinez’s side were inspired by the Buddies’ Hampden heroics in beating Celtic and Hearts to lift the Scottish Communities League Cup earlier this year and that gave them the confidence to beat the world’s richest club at Wembley.
“About a month ago we had a tenth anniversary reunion down at the DW Stadium of the guys who won League One,” said the 34-year-old. “That was just leading up to the FA Cup semi-final and a few of the boys were congratulating me on winning the League Cup with St Mirren.
“At that time, Wigan knew they would be playing Millwall or Blackburn and it was a great chance for them to get to the final. They got there and went one better by winning the trophy. They had watched our final and it was a similar story – a smaller club where it’s not expected you’ll win a trophy when the season starts. Our League Cup was amazing for ourselves but for Wigan to go and win the FA Cup is unbelievable.
“It was the full-strength Manchester City team as well. Joe Hart was back in goals so it wasn’t like they stuck out a weakened team. With the pressure Roberto Mancini was under and the money they had spent, there’s no doubt they were determined to win that final and maybe their downfall was they thought they just had to turn up.”
The controversial late kick-off at Wembley meant that Teale missed most of it after playing in Saints’ 0-0 draw with Aberdeen. However, he managed to get his timing just right.
“I caught the last three minutes of the FA Cup final – the most important part!” he said. “I was delighted for them, over the moon, and sent a few messages down to congratulate them.
“We obviously caused an upset ourselves this season but for them to go and achieve what they did and against the team they were up against was incredible. Everyone goes on about budgets but you just had to look at what the Manchester City team cost compared to Wigan’s. It just goes to show that anything can happen in a one-off game.”
Teale was speaking to publicise this year’s Yorkhill Children’s Charity Football Tournament on 1 June.